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Centre for Suicide Research | Research | Media |

 

The effects of media portrayal of suicidal behaviour

 

Professor Hawton has worked with colleagues in Hong Kong and Taiwan to study the influence of media reporting of celebrity suicide.

Yip, P. S. F., Fu, K. W., Yang, K. C. T., Ip, B. Y. T., Chan, C. L. W., Chen, E. Y. H., Less, D. T. S., Law, F. Y. W., Hawton, K. (2006) The effects of a celebrity suicide on suicide rates in Hong Kong. Journal of Affective Disorders, 93, 245-252.

Cheng, A. T. A., Hawton, K., Chen, T. H. H., Yen, A. M. F., Chang, J.-C., Chong, M.-Y., Liu, C.-Y., Lee, Y., Teng, P.-R., Chen, L.-C. (2007) The influence of media reporting of a celebrity suicide on suicidal behaviour in patients with a history of depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 103, 69-75.

Cheng, A. T. A., Hawton, K., Chen, T. H. H., Yen, A. M. F., Chen, C.-Y., Chen, L.-C., Teng, P.-R. (2007) The influence of media coverage of a celebrity suicide on subsequent suicide attempts. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68, 862-866.

 

In November 2003 the Centre for Suicide Research and the Reuters Foundation at Green College, Oxford, jointly organised a symposium, Suicide and the Media, for media professionals, researchers, policy makers and other experts in the field. A report of the meeting has been published:

Crane, C., Hawton, K., Simkin, S., Coulter, P. (2005) Suicide and the media: pitfalls and prevention. Crisis, 26, 42-47.

A pdf of the report Suicide and the Media: Pitfalls and Prevention can be downloaded here.

 

We recently conducted a pilot study on the influences of the media on suicidal ideation and behaviour in young people.

Zahl, D., Hawton, K. (2004) Media influences on suicidal behaviour: an interview study of young people. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32, 189-198

 

We have carried out a systematic review of the worldwide literature concerning the consequences of media portrayal of suicidal behaviour. This was funded by Syngenta.

Hawton, K., Williams, K. (2001) The connection between media and suicidal behaviour warrants serious attention. Crisis, 22, 137-140

 

Following a small local study in 1995 on the effects of an overdose in a television medical drama series, we undertook a large scale study of the possible influence of a similar paracetamol overdose on self-poisoning behaviour. This was funded by the Nuffield Trust.

Hawton, K., Simkin, S., Deeks, J.J., O'Connor, S., Keen, A., Altman, D.G., Philo, G., Bulstrode, C. (1999) Overdoses on television may influence self-poisoning behaviour: A time-series and questionnaire study of self-poisoning presentations to hospitals before and after an overdose in a television drama. BMJ, 318, 972-7.

O'Connor, S., Deeks, J.J., Hawton, K., Simkin, S., Keen, A., Altman, D.G., Philo, G., Bulstrode, C. (1999) Television portrayal of self-poisoning increases knowledge of specific dangers of paracetamol: population-based surveys. BMJ, 318, 978-9.

Simkin, S., Hawton, K., Whitehead, L., Fagg, J., Eagle, M. (1995) Media influence on parasuicide. A study of the effects of a television drama portrayal of paracetamol self-poisoning. British Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 754-9.

 


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